Even before Gov. Bob McDonnell unveils his first two-year budget to the General Assembly Monday morning, the criticism has begun.
In the past week, McDonnell (R) has released a series of proposals — $2.2 billion for the state retirement system; $110 million for roads, $200 million for colleges and universities; bonuses for state employees — but he hasn’t said where the money is coming from to pay for those goodies.
“McDonnell hasn’t been straight with Virginians about where he’s getting the funds to pay for these proposals,” according to ProgressVA, a left-leaning group. “Without increasing revenue, McDonnell is simply moving funds from one program to another, surreptitiously raiding the general fund to generate headlines and mislead Virginians—stealing from Peter to pay Paul.”
ProgressVA is a frequent critic of McDonnell. It’s the same group that called him a turkey at Thanksgiving.
Last week, they were part of a coalition that delivered a petition to the governor’s office that more than 1,300 signatures calling for a “balanced approach.”
Better Choices for Virginia, a coalition of businesspeople, nonprofit leaders, local officials and educators, called on McDonnell to protect and create jobs instead of making cuts to schools, health care, public safety and other core services. It advocates for eliminating tax loopholes instead of a cuts-only approach to budgets.
Since the beginning of the recession, the coalition estimates that Virginia has cut $1.3 billion from education, $238 million from public safety and $994 million from health care.
But McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin has said the groups just want taxes raised — which is not going to happen with this governor.
“Virginia taxpayers deserve a government that gets more efficient and smarter, not bigger and more expensive,’’ he said.
McDonnell will present his spending plan to the legislatures’ money committees at 9:30 a.m. Check back for complete coverage.